A word that carries weight as easily as it lifts it. One that leaps from one to the next, never alighting long enough and always too long.
She had it. Responsibility. Command. Accountability, power, liability, importance.
There were people here who trusted and relied on her, who clung hopefully to the mere fact that she existed and therefore they could too. In a world where so little was certain, even a simple truth was more welcome than any material comfort they might be missing.
The wide eyes of men and women that turned to her as she walked through a pathetic smattering of tents and lean-tos. The soft, scarcely muffled sobs in the still of night that bit through the calm following an ubiquitous storm. The ill and injured, broken and battered, desperate and dying. All rode on the wavering back of her shoulders.
And they trusted her, trusted her, to carry it.
People who, once upon a better time, had thrown to the wayside people like her, peo